LAST WEEK TomWatson played what he expects to be his final competitive round at PebbleBeach, the same course on which he made one of the most famous shots in golfhistory. The eight-time major winner teed it up in the AT&T Pebble BeachNational Pro-Am with his 24-year-old son, Michael, a six handicapper who lookslike his mother, hits the ball like another Watson--Bubba--and uses the type oflong putter that his father campaigned against for years. Watson senior, 57,went out on a high note, seldom missing a shot, and the father-son teamfinished second in the amateur portion of the event, four shots behind thewinners, Phil Mickelson and Harry You.
Tom Watson'sfather, Ray, won the amateur portion of the event, then known as the BingCrosby Pro-Am, in 1941 playing with Leonard Dodson, meaning that Michael is thethird generation of Watson to play in the tournament. Of the three, none willbe associated with Pebble like Tom (right), who twice won the Crosby and whowon the '82 U.S. Open at Pebble when he held off Jack Nicklaus by chipping infrom an impossible lie just off the 17th green. Playing through the wind in acashmere sweater last week, Tom Watson brought to mind visions of his youngerself, a sight we won't see again--except in highlight reels.
• DO THE FOLKS atthe USGA not really consider the PGA Championship a major? Last week the USGAannounced that the 2010 U.S. Senior Open would be played at Sahalee, nearSeattle. The USGA release noted that the '98 PGA took place at Sahalee, makingit "the first of golf's 'majors' to be played in the Northwest since1944." Putting the word majors in quotes almost begs for so-called toprecede it. Yet in other USGA releases referring to its own events or toplayers who've won them, it uses major without quotes. What gives? It wasprobably just an oversight. Or an "oversight."
• IN A TWIST ofirony, the Western Open, which was renamed the BMW Championship and made partof the new playoff system, may be returning to the West. Harding Park, thepublic course in San Francisco, will reportedly host the 2009 Presidents Cupand the '10 and '11 Charles Schwab Cups, and could get the BMW in the next 15years.... Mickelson is paying the college tuition for Holli Dobler, daughter offormer NFL lineman Conrad Dobler, who has fallen on hard times after he endureda series of medical problems and his wife suffered an injury that left herparalyzed. Mickelson has never met Dobler but heard about his struggles andoffered to help. At least last week, the nice guy finished first.... ScottDraper, the former tennis pro who was once ranked 42nd in the world but gave upthe game to pursue a pro golf career, won the New South Wales PGA Championshipby shooting 20-under 268.
February 19, 2007
• WOODS BABY NAMEOF THE WEEK Danny Gans.
• For Gary VanSickle's Inside Golf column, go to SI.com/golf.
Buy 18, get two free at this unique par-76 course nearCincinnati
WHAT The Pines Golf Course
WHERE Bethel, Ohio
COST $1.275 million
HOOK The Pines, designed by Robert Taylor, was builtin 2002 on 125 acres of farmland about five miles from the Ohio River and isonly 6,066 yards long--short but sweet.
FRINGE BENEFIT When you buy this course you get adividend: two extra holes, making it the rare (perhaps only) 20-hole, par-76layout. Why? The owner, a bit of an eccentric, simply didn't feel as if he'dhad enough golf when he got through with 18, so he tacked on two extras.
Number of players in the top 13 of the World Rankingwho will tee it up at Riviera.
"He was dictatorial. He was profane andhilarious." --MY SHOT, PAGE G18
Carlos Franco faced a tough shot off a tight lie at Poppy Hills during thesecond round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but at least it was dry. Francofinished with a five-over 77 and went on to miss the cut.